A few of the point spreads for the final Sunday in the NFL are absurd. Odds makers are begging you to take the underdog and the points in a few situations. You've probably seen scenarios like this in the past and found yourself in a trap.
Some of the matchups would best be avoided, but three teams stand out as clear examples of favorites that won't cover the spread.
Here's a look at my predictions for every game on the schedule. Just below the table is a closer look at three teams that aren't safe bets to cover.
|Sunday, Dec. 29||Time||TV||Location||Prediction|
|Carolina at Atlanta||1 p.m.||Fox||Georgia Dome||Carolina|
|Baltimore at Cincinnati||1 p.m.||CBS||Paul Brown Stadium||Cincinnati|
|Houston at Tennessee||1 p.m.||CBS||LP Field||Tennessee|
|Jacksonville at Indianapolis||1 p.m.||CBS||Lucas Oil Stadium||Indianapolis|
|NY Jets at Miami||1 p.m.||CBS||Sun Life Stadium||Miami|
|Detroit at Minnesota||1 p.m.||Fox||Mall of America Field||Minnesota|
|Washington at N.Y. Giants||1 p.m.||Fox||MetLife Stadium||N.Y. Giants|
|Cleveland at Pittsburgh||1 p.m.||CBS||Heinz Field||Pittsburgh|
|Green Bay at Chicago||4:25 p.m.||Fox||Soldier Field||Green Bay|
|Denver at Oakland||4:25 p.m.||CBS||O.co Coliseum||Denver|
|Buffalo at New England||4:25 p.m.||CBS||Gillette Stadium||New England|
|Tampa Bay at New Orleans||4:25 p.m.||Fox||Mercedes-Benz Superdome||New Orleans|
|San Francisco at Arizona||4:25 p.m.||fox||U of Phoenix Stadium||San Francisco|
|Kansas City at San Diego||4:25 p.m.||CBS||Qualcomm Stadium||Kansas City|
|St. Louis at Seattle||4:25 p.m.||Fox||CenturyLink Field||Seattle|
|Philadelphia at Dallas||8:30 p.m.||Fox||AT&T Stadium||Philadelphia|
Let's start off in Seattle.
Seattle Seahawks -10
Before Week 16, the Seahawks hadn't lost a home game in almost two years. After the Arizona Cardinals handed them a 17-10 loss at CenturyLink Field, the aura of invincibility that surrounded the 'Hawks is gone.
The team has now lost two of its last three games and is headed into a pressure situation in the season finale. A loss would open the door for the San Francisco 49ers to steal the division crown away from them.
The St. Louis Rams provide the opposition for the Seahawks, and the team's suddenly dominant run game will be an issue. The Rams haven't rushed for less than 100 yards in their last eight games.
During that span, the team is averaging 155.6 rushing yards per game. This type of ball control offense is what St. Louis will need to keep the Seattle crowd out of the game. I won't say the Rams will win outright—though it wouldn't shock me if they did—but if Seattle wins, it won't be by more than nine points.
Chicago Bears -7
This one is easy. Not only will the Bears not cover the spread, they won't win this all-important rivalry matchup against the Green Bay Packers. We won't know whether Aaron Rodgers is playing until Thursday, per Chris Wesseling of NFL.com, but it won't matter.
The key matchup in this game is on the sidelines. The head coaching strategies and adjustments will determine the winner; and the Packers' Mike McCarthy gives Green Bay the edge.
Without his star and perennial MVP candidate, McCarthy has made the adjustments necessary to keep his team alive.
The Bears' Marc Trestman has made mind-boggling late-game moves, perplexing play calls and failed to make adjustments at halftime all year long. Most recently, the Bears looked unprepared in their embarrassing 54-11 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 16.
Even Trestman's dynamic offense sputtered against a team whose defense ranks 30th in the NFL.
Green Bay gets it done on Sunday with or without Rodgers.
Which underdog is more likely to win?
Indianapolis Colts -11.5
The Colts are 10-5; they have clinched the AFC South title and are hosting the 4-11 Jacksonville Jaguars; that's a blowout, right?
Indy has played to the level of their competition all season, and Jacksonville is above .500 in the second half of the year.
In Week 15, the Colts soundly beat the Houston Texans, and they hammered the Jags 37-3 in Week 4. Aside from those wins, the Colts' victories against non-playoff teams have been decided by 10 points or less.
Jacksonville is a different team now than it was in the first meeting. It is 4-3 since their bye in Week 9, and the team will be looking to finish the year strong. The Jags won't win this game, but they will keep the score close.
Point spreads per Covers.com
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